Minister Opendi Speaks Out on Neonatal Deaths at Kawempe Hospital

The State Minister for Health and General Duties, patient Hon. Sarah Opendi has dismissed as baseless the recent media reports indicating that 15 newborn babies die every day at Mulago Hospital, recipe Kawempe branch.

The reports, online according to Hon. Opendi asserted that the issue arose after the closure of Makerere University and the subsequent withdrawal of Senior Health Officers (SHOs) from the facility.

“The Ministry of Health would like to strongly refute these allegations as baseless and a total misrepresentation of facts,” she said.

Hon. Opendi was Wednesday addressing journalists at Uganda Media Centre in Kampala.

She noted that following the closure of Makerere and the subsequent withdrawal of SHOs, the hospital administration re- arranged the workforce at the facility, with special focus on the critical areas including the Special Care Unit and the Labour suite.

“Since the withdrawal of Senior House Officers on Nov 1, 2016 to date, Mulago Hospital has unfortunately lost 31 newborns,” she said adding that the deaths were majorly as a result of severe birth asphyxia and complications associated with prematurity.

“Severe Asphyxia is largely caused by prolonged labour, which is a consequence of late referrals. According to this statistics, Mulago Hospital has lost approximately one newborn per day due to unavoidable circumstances,” she added.

Opendi also clarified that Kawempe Hospital only handles expectant mothers, newborn babies and babies below one month who she says can be handled by the current staff at the facility.


“As far as duty coverage is concerned, currently 34 specialists and 5 medical officers are managing the Labour suite while 4 specialists are attending to the Special Care Unit. These are backed up by the 76 midwives in the Labour suite and 20 nurse midwives in the special care unit and the 21 intern doctors.”

“Whereas the withdrawal of Senior House Officers has created some gaps, with a longer patient waiting time in the Out Patient Department, the process of healthcare delivery has not been significantly affected,” she added.

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